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THEORY: non-concatenative morphology [was: Re: Ke'kh]

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Thursday, September 21, 2000, 17:04
On Thu, 21 Sep 2000, Mangiat wrote:

> What's a non-concatenative grammar? One which does not rely exclusively on > pre/suffixes but changes the root itself (or, à la Sémitique, the vowels in > the root)?
Exactly. "Non-concatenative" suggests that a complex word isn't made up by simply stringing together a collection of morphemes. Non- concatenative morphology is usually considered part of prosodic morphology, which also includes infixation, reduplication, and other goodies. These are considered "prosodic" since the syllable/foot structure imposes requirements on the correct expression of morphological categories. For instance, infixation is really prefixation which seeks to avoid creating syllable codas; in languages which indulge in infixation, "infixes" which are attached to vowel-initial stems show up as prefixes: um + tawag -> tumawag 'call, pf. actor trigger' um + aral -> umaral 'teach' (I should say here that the correct interpretation of the data is not uncontroversial; is _aral_ really vowel-initial, or is there a glottal stop there?) Reduplication is also considered prosodic since it is usually the case that the reduplicant fills an "authentic unit of prosody" i.e., light syllable, heavy syllable, foot, etc. Many of the Semitic patterns are also prosodic in just this way; the root and vocalic patterns are mapped to "authentic units of prosody" such as iamb (light syllable-heavy syllable) or moraic trochee (two light syllables or one heavy syllable), often with stuff left over on the right edge of a form. The Arabic broken plurals come to mind: sg pl nafs nufuus 'soul' ?asad ?usuud 'lion' rajul rijaal 'man' jundub janaadib 'locust' For these nouns, the plural form must have an iamb; the plural of 'locust' _janaadib_ has an iamb and then some more: (ja)(naa)dib. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga